The 2020-21 season is in the rearview mirror. The free agency will officially open its doors on March 17th. In the meantime, Touchdown Actu takes the opportunity to offer you an overview of the various franchises during the offseason. Which players to keep and cut? Which free agent to extend? Which recruits to observe? Here are some ideas, franchise by franchise.
The 2020 season, the New York Giants alternated between good and bad, to end with a record close to that expected: 6 wins for 10 losses, the best season since 2016.
For Joe Judge’s first year as head coach, defensive progress has been notable, while attacking remains a building site. It is this last aspect of the game that will be the main focus of the 2021 offseason, from quarterbacks to receivers to linemen.
1 – Blake Martinez (LB)
2 – James Bradberry (CB)
3 – Daniel Jones (QB)
The two most important defensive rookies of 2020 didn’t disappoint, and they quickly became the leaders of a young defense looking for benchmarks. Blake Martinez was the image of his career, a statistical machine, often overtaken in pass coverage but terribly effective against the run. Every defense needs a captain at the center of the system, and the former Packers have the shoulders for that role.
James Bradberry also quickly found his place in New York. Arrived from Carolina, he had an excellent season, conceding only 594 yards and 4 touchdowns, At the same time he defended 18 passes for 3 interceptions. He’s the cornerback the team needed, and he too will be a staple in the seasons to come.
On the contrary, the attack still lacks this leader, this cornerstone on which to build a system. There are talented players, like Saquon Barkley, but it would be naive not to look at the quarterback to try and find that necessary stability.
1 – Golden Tate (WR)
2 – Evan Engram (TE)
Currently, the overthecap site gives the Giants less than a million dollars of latitude on the salary cap (hypothesis 176 million). The Giants, however, need to strengthen themselves, and therefore create financial flexibility. The move that would give the most direction would be to part ways with Kevin Zeitler, but the line needs him too much.
The two most likely victims are Golden Tate and Evan Engram. The first at 33 years old and no longer producing at the level of his contract, and the second is definitely a disappointment after his selection in the first round of the 2017 draft. The latter has never found the level of his rookie season, and his drops were expensive in the NFC East playoff race, especially against the Eagles.
Man of summer
Saquon Barkley (RB)
He’s THE star of this team… When he’s on the pitch. After a truncated season in 2019, it’s a near-blank season for the former Penn State in 2020. Ligaments and meniscus are affected, the kind of injury that is even more of a concern when it comes to of a runner.
Can Barkley rediscover the explosiveness of his 2017 season, when he was named offensive rookie of the year? This is the whole question. This will require him to be helped by his line, and this is the issue of the offseason that is being prepared. If he again becomes the double threat he could be, the pressure on the shoulders of his quarterback Daniel Jones will be much less.
The 5 main free agents
1 – Leonard Williams
2 – Kyler Fackrell
3 – Dalvin Tomlinson
4 – Wayne Gallman
5 – Cameron Fleming
If the defense has been so successful this season, it is in particular thanks to its front seven which has been very efficient. Leonard Williams is the leader of that squad, and the Giants are unlikely to let him go given the price paid on his trade in 2019.
But he’s not the only one of the squad to be a free agent, as lineman Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Kyler Fackrell are also on the market. New York won’t be able to keep everyone, and Joe Judge will have to make the right choices.
The case of Cameron Fleming will also have to be decided, while Nate Solder will return from opt out, and it will be necessary to find an insurance behind Barkley if Wayne Gallman comes to leave. Overall the Giants have few starts that are difficult to manage, and will be able to focus on recruiting.
The top 5 needs
1 – Wide Receiver
2 – Tight End
3 – Inside offensive line
4 – Cornerback N°2
5 – Linebacker
As for the receivers, close together or outside, everything needs to be done again. The draft, the free agency, all means will have to be implemented to strengthen this squad. Daniel Jones needs to be helped to progress, and that has to be the priority of the New York franchise.
But help must not come only from targets, it must also come from protection. Solder will come back from opt-out, Andrew Thomas must progress in his second year, so recruitment will come from within. Apart from Zeitler, no one has convinced, be it Nick Gates, Shane Lemieux or Will Hernandez. It is therefore very likely that New York will invest in its posts. Good news, the draft promises to be deep.
But the defense is not forgotten. We need to find a playmate for Bradberry and Martinez to consolidate the strengths of this team. Here again the draft can help, even if an experience cornerback would not be too much.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR)
This is the theme of this end of the article, the recipients are the priority. And the free agent market is full of interesting players this season. While the bigger targets may be financially unattainable, JuJu Smith-Schuster can put his bags down at the Giants.
In decline since his XXL season in 2018, he lost his starting place with the Steelers and should be available. Imposing physique capable of winning the 50-50, he can become Daniel Jones’ safety valve. Able to devolve outside or in the slot, he has invaluable versatility in Jason Garrett’s attack.
Expenditure Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
This city needs me. When Gotham needs to be saved, Bat (e) man answers the call. Daniel Jones needs a benchmark target for efficient vertical play, and Rashod Bateman seems to be the perfect profile among the receivers who will be available.
An extraordinary track runner, he has a remarkable ability to land in traffic. He is not the greatest athlete of the vintage, but his contribution will be immediate.
Will he be chosen in 11? Certainly not, but in the event of a trade down or trade up since the second round, it could be the good deal of the end of the first round, the Justin Jefferson of 2021.
Autre choix : Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida), Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama), Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech), Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama), Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa), Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)